Dedicated to the balanced discussion of global warming
carbon offset / trading greenhouse kyoto climate model Inconvenient Truth bio fuel ipcc Glacier

A Glacier Meltdown – The Himalayas and climate science.

An excellent opinion in the Wall Street Journal. It is absolutely amazing that there are so few media companies that try to get the story straight.

Last November, U.N. climate chief Rajendra Pachauri delivered a blistering rebuke to India’s environment minister for casting doubt on the notion that global warming was causing the rapid melting of Himalayan glaciers.

“We have a very clear idea of what is happening,” the chairman of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) told the Guardian newspaper. “I don’t know why the minister is supporting this unsubstantiated research. It is an extremely arrogant statement.”

Are the glaciers our fault?

I am often asked if the reduction of the size of glaciers is the fault of global warming. My standard answer is that I don’t know as the evidence is far from conclusive.

A case in point is a graph from the USGS fact sheet:

Two conclusions are fairly obvious from the above graph.  First, the size of glacier recession has been occurring almost since the time when we started measuring the size back in the late 50s.  The second is that the reduction seemed to increase rather rapidly in the late 80s and early 90s. If we draw a straight line to average the reduction from 1960 to 1975, we will see a totally different rate as compared to the line that averages 1980 to 2005.

Glaciers on California’s Mt. Shasta keep growing

July 8, 2008 – USA Today

The reasons that a glacier grows or shrinks are not solely due to air temperature (regardless of what Mr. Gore implies).  This story in the USA Today is a prime example of proving this false.  Unfortunately, this mountain seems to be the only mountain in the lower 48 states of the USA that has growing glaciers.

Due to Mt. Shasta’s elevation and proximity to the Pacific ocean with its prevailing winds, the area is seeing an increase in precipitation in the form of snow.  This snow is forming glaciers.

This does not mean that global warming doesn’t cause glaciers to shrink!  This just means that the formation and the maintenance of glaciers is more complicated than just ambient temperature.

Recent glacier and climate variations in the Pacific Northwest

Quaternary Research Center, University of Washington

There does not appear to be a date on this article nor does it appear to be peer reviewed in a scientific journal. The author does appear to have some credibility though as it credits him as being with the University of Washington and URL implies that he is with the faculty of that august learning institution. His website also credits him with writing multiple articles since 1962.

The article tracks a specific glacier and its shrinking over the course of several hundred years. It is very apparent from the graph from that article that the shrinking has been relatively consistent since the mid 1800s and in fact may have slightly slowed down in recent decades (maybe we could put a hockey stick on this and show that the glacier is actually growing now).

Hundreds pose naked on shrinking Swiss glacier

Reuters – August 19, 2007

There is nothing like the naked body to draw attention to an issue. Hugh Hefner of Playboy fame learned a long time ago that the naked body was good for business and it even allowed him to put out articles that were worth reading (allowing the quip: “Honestly dear, I just get it for the interviews”).

This article talks about an activist that organized several hundred people to stand and lay naked along one of the Swiss glaciers that is shrinking. The activist, Spencer Tunick a member of Greenpeace, has organized this type of effort before. It undoubtedly is working since it was picked up by Reuters and reprinted in hundreds of other locations (including here).

NASA MISSION CHECKS HEALTH OF GREENLAND’S ICE SHEET AND GLACIERS

Earth Observatory – May 30, 2007

This is an article about NASA’s recent trip to Greenland to check on the “health” of the glaciers that cover much of that island. This is a regular activity of these scientists as it allows us to monitor the thickness and the flow of the main glaciers. This year they also added new devices to their repertoire.

A NASA-led research team has returned from Greenland after an annual three-week mission to check the health of its glaciers and ice sheet. About 82 percent of Greenland is made up of a giant ice sheet.

Global warming melts Andean glaciers toward oblivion

Reuters – June 7, 2007

You will see different versions of this article floating around the internet.  This article discusses the major impact and hardship that will befall the people of Bolivia due to the melting of their small glaciers that are in the Andean mountains.  These glaciers are melting, so the story claims, because of global warming.

If you have read this site for any length of time, you know that some people believe a myriad of evils has been delivered on us (or will be delivered) due to climate change. I have written of several examples of this (here and here and here).  I don’t discount that these glaciers may be melting since the article gives us data to support that claim.  I also do not refute that this will cause these people harm – in fact, my heart goes out to them in their plight.

The Global Warming religion

I havent posted much to this site as the two sides in this debate had become very fanatical and I dont like dealing with fanatics. Since the site is dedicated to looking at both sides of the debate, fanaticism made that impractical. Regardless of the validity of a claim by one side, the other side always condemned it as a lie. Rarely was there scientific discussion as to the validity of the claim or how it was misunderstood but rather a general condemnation. Even the discussion that the other side was unreasonable has become fanatical can you ever envision a reasonable conversation between Hannity and Gore?

Bill Nye calls deniers ‘unpatriotic’

Bill Nye ‘The Science Guy’ was on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show this past Wednesday, discussing the latest round of snowstorms and if climate change is responsible. Nye told Maddow that the people who are saying that the snowstorms around Washington D.C. disproves climate change are almost ‘unpatriotic’.

Nye also said that he felt from his experience that global warming denial could be attributed to generational factors, like his personal observations that older people have a much harder time grasping how billions of people could affect the thin atmosphere. He felt that younger generations are more accepting of this possibility.

UN climate claims ‘based on student essay’

I picked this up at ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Company).  There is a lot of talk about Climategate and Glaciergate but now we find a new instance of the IPCC reports that were not based on peer-reviewed scientific information.

Now that the IPCC has admitted one problem, it is obvious that everyone is going to go through every claim with a fine-tooth comb. For the sake of the IPCC, I hope that there aren’t more problems discovered. If there are, then the entire global warming conversation will take a significant move towards skepticism.  It is interesting that this is almost precisely the problem that Michael Crichton described in his novel on global warming “A State of Fear” and why he spoke out about the issue of bad scientific discover.